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January 23, 2008 3:56 PM

Vista opens on Windows 7

Posted by Brier Dudley

Like crocuses in the yard, hints of what's coming in Windows 7 -- the successor to Vista -- are starting to appear.

Enthusiast Web sites are reporting the Windows 7 tidbits as leaks, but I wonder if there's a deliberate seed-planting effort going on, to get software developers excited about the new stuff coming out of Redmond...

Tantalizing details, combined with the expanded virtualizaton offering Microsoft announced this week, also get the buzz going ahead of February's release of the new Visual Studio developer toolkit, Windows Server and SQL database.

Windows 7 chatter really started rolling last week when TG Daily reported that a "milestone" build of the software was released to partners and could ship in late 2009, ahead of the expected 2010 release.

On Tuesday, someone posted an "unofficial review" of the milestone build in Neowin's forums. That was followed by an anonymous but legitimate-seeming comment submitted to the blog, "confirming" the authenticity of the review and adding specifics about the project.

The gist of the comment was that there is more cool stuff in the product and connections with Windows Live online services will be "killer."

That comment also described the "measured" approach that Steve Sinofsky's taking. The Windows engineering boss isn't trying to include every visionary improvement in this particular release, so there are likely to be many small changes and a few big ones; some of the team's big ideas will have to wait until Windows 8.

Then blogger Mary Jo Foley joined fray by posting parts of a vision memo/online manifesto written last summer by three vice presidents involved with Live and mobile services.

An excerpt:

"While we will target a seamless experience on Windows Vista, we will make a bet on the Windows 7 platform and experience, and create the best experience when connected with Windows 7. We will work with the Windows 7 team and be a first and best developer of solutions on the Windows 7 platform. Our experiences will be designed so when they are connected to Windows 7 they seamlessly extend the Windows experience, and we will work to follow the Windows 7 style guidelines for applications."

Both the memo and the inside commenter talked up efforts to integrate Windows 7 with Live online services, but they don't say "integrate" or "bundle" and instead described "seamless experiences." The commenter even noted that Live isn't getting special treatment in Windows 7 and is using development hooks "that will be available to anyone." Are Microsoft lawyers vetting anonymous blog comments now?

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Gadgets and games | Fun stuff I've written about lately includes Apple's iPhone, Hewlett-Packard's HDX laptop and Microsoft's Halo3. Also on the radar are new digital video boxes such as the Tivo HD and the Vudu.